The articles of the 2016 MESDA Journal represent four states—Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee—and explore paintings, furniture, and the diverse skills included in the building trades. There is something of interest for nearly every decorative arts aficionado.
The Moravian town of Salem in North Carolina celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2016. To mark that milestone, Nathan Love presents an in-depth look at the builders who built the town. The sixty-five biographies included are of men—black and white; free and enslaved—who have left a lasting mark on Salem’s built landscape.
South Carolina is the stage for an article about a portrait of the Revolutionary War cavalry commander Brigadier General William Washington. Christopher Bryant and Sumpter Priddy attribute the painting to Thomas Coram and along the way provide new information about the print culture in early America.
The Virginia cabinetmaker Willis Cowling is revisited by Chris Kolbe in a research note that uncovers the intricacies in operating an urban furniture making shop. Using primary documents pertaining to journeyman turner Seth Haywood, Kolbe reveals the business practices of Cowling’s shop, as well as previously unidentified skilled enslaved workers.
East Tennessee has long been known for its exuberant inlaid furniture. Amber Clawson provides the first attribution to the Rope and Tassel Group in her article about the Hugh McAdams family of cabinetmakers. In addition, Clawson creates a “cultural palette” using the region’s decorative inlay that reflects a Nolichucky River Valley community born from the frontier but which comes of age in the early Republic.
The 2016 MESDA Journal print-on-demand issue is now available by clicking here (link takes you to the Blurb website). Each copy of the 2016 issue is $27.10 (includes shipping). While you’re shopping, be sure to check out all of the print-on-demand MESDA Journal issues going back to 2012.
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